By Mario Casayuran | Manila Bulletin
Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. pressed Congress on Tuesday for the immediate passage of his bill which seeks to establish a national program for production of quality hybrid seeds to ensure high agriculture output in the country.
Marcos made the call as the daunting task of bringing the agricultural sector back on track after it was severely ravaged by recent natural disasters, the latest of which was the super typhoon “Yolanda,” requires the need for a far-reaching and encompassing program for agricultural productivity and stability.
He then batted for the inclusion of a massive distribution of hybrid seeds to farmers as part of rehabilitating the agriculture sector in areas hit by the super typhoon.
Marcos sought for farmers’ easy and quick access to hybrid seeds for planting following the Senate approval of the P8-billion outlay for repair and rehabilitation of irrigation systems nationwide, especially in disaster-hit areas to jump-start farming, for sustainable high farm productivity.
The appropriation is an item in the proposed 2014 P2.265-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA or national budget).
Marcos had filed Senate Bill No. 112, titled “The National Seeds Production Act of 2013.’’
The Marcos bill asks the national government to undertake a comprehensive program on the production of hybrid and other quality seeds and encourage farmers to intensify their efforts in increasing farm productivity.
It also mandates the Department of Agriculture (DA), through the Bureau of Plants and Industries (BPI), to execute the program and supervise, coordinate, and monitor the implementation at the national and local level.
“The establishment of a seeds production program will greatly enhance farm productivity by providing the farmers with quality, hybrid and affordable seeds, as well as the needed technical and other support services,” Marcos said.
He proposed an initial P6-billion budget for the measure, which would be incorporated in the annual budget of the DA.
Thereafter, the amount necessary to carry out its implementation would be incorporated in the GAA, he added.